Michelle Sandoval named 2021 Board President of Hispanic Contractors of Colorado

Michelle Sandoval, Marketing Manager & Community Relations Liaison for Swinerton, was recently named the 2021 Board President for the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado (HCC).  Founded in 1990, HCC is a professional trade association representing over 160 members with inclusive membership from all backgrounds. Focused on commercial and public projects, their membership includes general contractors, subcontractors, specialty contractors, A/E firms, public entities, suppliers, and service providers. They help contractors, regardless of size, ethnicity, and gender to position themselves to become successful in the Colorado construction industry.

“I am both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to represent HCC,” Michelle Sandoval advised last week during an interview.   “Small businesses continue to drive our local economy and it’s because of this that HCC works so hard to be a voice and provide its members with resources needed to help grow their business.”

Q&A with Michelle Sandoval: Her career in construction and involvement with the HCC

Q:  Why did you become a member of the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado board?

A:  At Swinerton, we believe in providing economic opportunity to small, minority, women-owned, disabled, and veteran-owned business enterprises.   we believe in supporting local non-profits that help our cities thrive. As our local Community Liaison, I have found the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado to be leading the way in diversity and inclusivity for small businesses. Their focus is not only on Hispanic owned businesses, but their mission is to be the leader in diversity for all small businesses. In fact, HCC is the largest networking organization in Colorado that encompasses small as well as large businesses including subcontractors, vendors, general contractors as well as professional services. This organization was a great way for Swinerton to build relationships and support small businesses.

I ran for the board in 2016. I wanted to be able to utilize our resources from Swinerton and be able to support the small business community. By being on the board, I have been able to be a voice and add suggestions on HCC programs, events, and education classes.

Q: How long have you been a member?

A:  I have involved with HCC for almost ten years and have been an active member for the last 6 years, participating on various committees.

Q:  What committee were you involved with?

A:  I have chaired the marketing committee for the last two years. This was a combination of three different committees that we brought together: marketing, events, and membership.  As the Marketing/Events/Membership Chair, I was able to help the organization create a plan for branding, digital communication, and social media.

I have also served on other committees such as the Contractor Academy (the education arm of HCC). The Contractor Academy is a 501c3 and provides affordable classes for small businesses in our industry. I have helped in developing the class schedule, recruited my Swinerton team members to develop and teach classes such as Estimating Bootcamp, Project Management, Safety and I have taught several classes myself. This includes a social media class and marketing/business development boot camp.

Q: What HCC events do you like the most? Why?

A:  I enjoy the monthly General Membership Meetings (GMM) and dinner.  It’s a great time to see everyone. The HCC provides a familia vibe; everyone is welcome. We are all there for the same reason and that is to support our small business partners.

Q:  How do you hope to help small, diverse contractors learn how to do business with public entities and large corporations?

A:  It takes time for anyone to build relationships with clients. As we say in marketing, it takes seven touches before a client is ready to buy. You have to take time to build that trust. At Swinerton, we say “companies don’t work with companies, people work with people.” This becomes particularly difficult when you are a small business and your staff is limited. Many small businesses do not have a full-time business development person on staff. The owner most likely wears multiple hats from billing to estimator to marketing.   They often don’t have the time needed to invest in building relationships. HCC offers a place that brings together small, large and public entities so that the small business now have a platform to meet multiple firms on a regular basis, allowing them to build those relationships that are critically needed.

Q:  How did you begin a career in construction?

A:  I fell into my career in construction. It started out as a temporary job and I fell in love with seeing a project being built from beginning to finish. The variety of projects and clients always made for never a boring moment. I started out as a field administrator and worked on jobsites, I grew in my role and took on many responsibilities as a project engineer when needed. Then the opportunity to work in marketing came up. In this role, I had the chance to work directly with the executive team. It was amazing to learn about the projects before we starting working on them. The planning that is put into place for an opportunity is amazing.

I was able to learn from some great mentors that helped grow my career.  Many of the markets I worked in like federal, public, aviation, and K-12, required the development of outreach programs.  I was fortunate to combine my interest in marketing, business development, and community liaison throughout my career.